Over the last decade, several environmental movements and campaigns have emerged in Albania, mediating new forms of politics. From the movement for the protection of Valbona Valley to the movement for the protection of the last wild river of Europe, Vjosa, organizations, local communities, and several other actors have been using various means to oppose investment projects, namely constructions of hydropower plants - perceived as harmful to the environment and detrimental to the local communities. The case of ZallGjoçaj is one of these instances, with the local community being a central actor in building a movement against the construction and in solidarity with the protection of Lurë-Mali i Dejës National Park. Deprived of the water flowing through the streams of Flim river, a river vital for the support of their way of life, the local community managed over the last five years to organize a series of actions using different means and methods to oppose the construction of a hydropower plant inside the National Park of Lurë-Mali i Dejës. Their actions include protests, guerrilla actions, lawsuits, campaigns, and online activities to support their cause. Our lecture will present the development of the trajectory of this movement while highlighting the impediments that it has faced over the last couple of years: the way the local municipality treated the local community, the reactions of the private company, the response of central authorities, courts decisions, and procedure and also the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the developing of the movement. We aim to bring forward the dynamics accompanying these new types of emerging environmental movements and their intersections with different authorities.
Philipp Freund is a PhD-Candidate at the Centre of Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz (CSEES). He holds an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London and a BA in International Relations from Webster University Vienna.
Pavjo Gjini is a PhD-Candidate at the CSEES. He holds a MA in Political Theory and a BA in Political Science at the University of Tirana.
Christopher Lam Cham Kee is a PhD-Candidate at the CSEES. He holds a MA in Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg, and a BA in Political Science at McGill University.
Diana Malaj is a PhD-Candidate at the CSEES. She holds a MA in Criminal Law and a BA in Law at the University of Tirana.
Sophia Schönthaler is a PhD-Candidate at the CSEES and a Junior Researcher at EURAC Research, Bolzano/Bozen. She holds a MA in International Relations from the University of Bologna, a BA in Political Science and a BA in Cultural and Social Anthropology from the University of Vienna.